Friday, April 01, 2011

Devotional: The principles of gain through loss...

The principles of gain through loss, of joy through sorrow, of getting by giving, of fulfillment by laying down, of life out of death is what that Book teaches, and the people who have believed it enough to live it out in simple, humble, day-by-day practice are people who have found the gain, the joy, the getting, the fulfillment, the life. ...Elisabeth Elliot image

The puzzle of intolerant tolerance

How can liberal democracies justify prosecuting people who wear crosses or refuse to preside at same-sex marriages and still pride themselves on being tolerant?
Michael Casey
Sunday, 27 March 2011

One of the most puzzling features of contemporary Western society is that governments are prepared to act intolerantly in the name of tolerance. Australian sociologist Michael Casey explains how this has come about.

MercatorNet: You have written about the puzzle of “intolerant tolerance”. What is this all about?

Casey: Tolerance is essential to any sort of life in common, especially in complex democratic societies. Originally it was simply a practice, a way of living together and respecting the freedom of others. It has now become a value in its own right, perhaps the supreme value. Certainly it features high up on the list whenever people are asked to identify what the West stands for.

To create a tolerant society, however, democracies increasingly resort to intolerance. There is no question that a decent society must protect itself and vulnerable minorities from groups which refuse to respect the rights of other people. But intolerant tolerance is directed against groups which actually respect and defend the rights and freedoms of others.

Christians, for example, are treated as intolerant for maintaining legitimate distinctions between couples who can and cannot be married; for reasonably exercising a preference in employing staff for people who share their faith; and for defending the rights of the unborn and disabled. Intolerance means refusing to respect the rights of others, but in these cases it has been extended to something which is not a form of intolerance at all: the right we all have to refuse to validate choices with which we disagree and to say they are wrong. Intolerant tolerance means enforced validation of certain values and practices in the name of the tolerance. the rest

We've Become a Nation of Takers, Not Makers

More Americans work for the government than in manufacturing, farming, fishing, forestry, mining and utilities combined
APRIL 1, 2011

If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.

It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?

Every state in America today except for two—Indiana and Wisconsin—has more government workers on the payroll than people manufacturing industrial goods. Consider California, which has the highest budget deficit in the history of the states. The not-so Golden State now has an incredible 2.4 million government employees—twice as many as people at work in manufacturing. New Jersey has just under two-and-a-half as many government employees as manufacturers. Florida's ratio is more than 3 to 1. So is New York's. the rest image

Hundreds of thousands of hacked websites spreading scareware

1 April 2011

Using an automated SQL injection attack, criminals have embedded links to domains carrying scareware in hundreds of thousands of websites. In some cases, visitors to an infected website see an additional page that pretends to be anti-virus software and claims to have discovered an infection on the user's system.

What is not clear is how often the criminals succeeded in embedding the links so that they actually work. The scattergun approach taken by the SQL injection attack on the content databases of content management systems has meant that in many cases the links were placed in fields such as the title tag which are not interpreted when the page is displayed and are therefore never called. According to Websense, the URLs were also found in some URLs for iTunes podcasts, possibly via modifications to RSS feeds from the vendors in question. Here too the attack carries no threat, as the browser does not interpret the injected links. the rest

Mass 'scareware' attack hits 1.5M websites, still spreading

Landmark EU Decision Against Stem Cell Patents

 31st Mar 11

In a landmark opinion, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has said that stem cell procedures that require the destruction or modification of a human embryo cannot be patented. The Advocate General of the Court, M Yves Bot, issued the preliminary opinion which questioned the ethics of embryonic stem cell research and could lead to much stricter regulation or even bans on the controversial experiments.

The case was referred to the Court in November 2009 by the German Federal Supreme Court, which had requested clarification of the legal definitions of human embryos in relation to patentability. A ‘human embryo’ is not defined in EU directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions. The German court was attempting decide a challenge to a patent held by Oliver Brüstle, director of the Institute of Reconstructive Neurobiology at the University of Bonn. The environmental organisation Greenpeace charged that the patent was unethical because human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines are derived from human embryos. the rest
In his opinion, Bot concludes that pluripotent stem cells cannot be defined as embryos because “they are no longer capable of developing into a complete human being”. However, he adds that the embryonic source of pluripotent cells “cannot be ignored”. Bot argues that techniques involving hESC lines are not patentable—even if the process in question does not involve the direct destruction of embryos—because they are tantamount to making industrial use of human embryos, which “would be contrary to ethics and public policy”.

Senator would deny pro-lifers rights

Charlie Butts OneNewsNow

Pro-lifers want an apology from Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-New Jersey) for comments saying they should be denied their rights.

The Democratic lawmaker made a controversial comment about pro-lifers in a recent pro-abortion demonstration at a New Jersey Planned Parenthood when he said: “They want other people not to be able to have their own opinions. They don't deserve the freedoms that are in the Constitution, but we'll give 'em to 'em anyway.”

An unidentified voice in the crowd was heard on video responding to Lautenberg by saying, “You can't kill the babies, senator. We don't deserve the freedoms in the Constitution? Wow.” That protest was filmed by Marie Tasy of New Jersey Right to Life. the rest

Report Reveals Vietnam's Decades-Long Crackdown on Minority Christians

Fri, Apr. 01 2011
By Wesley Ernst
Christian Post Correspondent

Vietnam’s communist government continues committing gross acts of repression against indigenous Christian minorities living in the country’s Central Highlands, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported Thursday.

The organization reported Hanoi’s decades-long brutality directed at the Montagnard tribes, whose members are predominantly evangelical Protestant or Catholic.

“Montagnards face harsh persecution in Vietnam, particularly those who worship in independent house churches, because the authorities don’t tolerate religious activity outside their sight or control,” said Phil Robertson, HRW deputy Asia director, according to The New York Times. “The Vietnamese government has been steadily tightening the screws on independent Montagnard religious groups, claiming they are using religion to incite unrest.” the rest

‘Soul Surfer’ makes a splash as this year’s ‘The Blind Side’

Movie Review
by Dr. Marc T. Newman
posted April 1, 2011

HOLLYWOOD — Bethany Hamilton has an extraordinary story to tell. Working hard to enter the ranks of professional surfing, by the age of 13 she already had a sponsor. But her life was shattered one morning in 2003. Out in the water, on a beautiful day, she was attacked by a 15-foot-long tiger shark. The shark bit through Bethany’s surfboard, and took off her arm at the shoulder. In a sport that requires the ability to push up on a floating, moving piece of foam and fiberglass, the loss of an arm would be, for most people, a career-ending injury.

But Bethany Hamilton is not “most people.”

Her incredible adventure is the subject of a new film, “Soul Surfer,” opening nationwide on April 8. The filmmakers are banking on the idea that the public is ready for a film that champions the triumph of family, faith, and the human spirit—not usually a big stretch, except that in this case they are willing to share Bethany’s life, all of it, including her deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. the rest

Polygamy: More Common Than You Think

Data show that plural marriage is a disaster for women's rights.
APRIL 1, 2011

Polygamy is a popular punchline these days, from HBO's drama "Big Love" to TLC's documentary "Sister Wives" and the Broadway musical "The Book of Mormon," written by the creators of "South Park." Yet plural marriage is as serious an issue as it's ever been—and is even on the rise in the West.

Warren Jeffs, the infamous leader of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints sect, is in an Arizona jail awaiting trial on charges of bigamy and sexual assault. North of the border, Canadian authorities have been trying to nab his co-religionists. In 2009, prosecutors charged Winston Blackmore and James Oler, two leaders of the fundamentalist community in Bountiful, British Columbia, with polygamy.

The case was thrown out on a technicality, but now Canada's anti-polygamy statute, which dates to 1890, is being put to the test in a so-called "reference case." In effect, the government is seeking an opinion from the court on whether the statute is valid. Opponents say that it violates the country's commitment to religious freedom. "Consenting adults have the right—the Charter protected right—to form the families that they want to form," Monique Pongracic-Speier of the Civil Liberties Association has said. the rest
Polygamy—or more specifically polygyny, the marriage of one man to more than one woman—has been widespread in human history. And it is becoming increasingly common, particularly in Muslim enclaves—including in Paris, London and New York.

Drop in U.S. birth rate is the biggest in 30 years

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times
March 31, 2011

The maternity business has experienced a recession, too, it appears. Births fell 4% from 2007 to 2009, the biggest drop for any two-year period since the mid-1970s, according to federal government data released Thursday.

The rate, 66.7 births per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, isn't the lowest in recent memory. The 1997 rate was an all-time low of 63.6. But the authors of the report say preliminary data show the birth rate continued falling through the first half of 2010.

The report found:

-Birth rates fell for all women except those 40 and older.

-The birth rate for women ages 20 to 24 was the lowest ever recorded for that age group: 96.3 per 1,000. That's a 9% drop from 2007 to 2009. the rest image by Juan Jimenez

Second House Committee OKs Ban on Taxpayer Funded Abortions

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

A second U.S. House committee has approved legislation to institute a government-wide ban on any direct taxpayer funding of abortions in any federal departments or programs.

The beauty of the bill is that it makes the ban federal law and pro-life lawmakers don’t have to find annual battles to renew several pro-life provisions covering various programs where taxpayer funding of abortions could take place.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee, in a vote of 22 to 14, gave approval today to H.R. 1232, the companion bill to the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Rep. Dave Camp’s bill makes technical changes to the tax provision in H.R. 3, the main bill from Rep. Chris Smith that bans abortion funding. the rest

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Devotional: The decision behind every decision...

The decision behind every decision must always be "Jesus is Lord! I will try to be faithful to Him as Lord in this set of circumstances." When we have difficult decisions to make and are not sure what is right, we start by conciously deciding again that we belong to Him and are called to be responsible to Him...Jesus is the norm, by which everyone and everything in life is measured. ...William P. Barker image by Surian Soosay

ACNA Congregation Settles In At New Leesburg Home

By Kara Clark Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pastor Clancy Nixon reflects on the strides the church he founded 18 years ago has made.

It started out as a small meeting in his family living room, where eight people showed up.

"Four of them were named Nixon," he says with a smile.

Then an attorney in private practice, Nixon said he was called to full-time ministry by the Lord and envisioned that his role would be in church planning.

The Church of the Holy Spirit, affiliated with the Anglican Church of North America, was born out of Truro in Fairfax and moved to Ashburn in 2000, where it remained for 10 years in different forms.

"When we had 72 people in our living room we realized it was time to move," he said. the rest

Planned Parenthood: "We're Mostly a Surgical Facility"

 by Matthew Archbold
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lila Rose and her Live Action crew have done it again. While the mainstream media have all but ignored the story I’ve listened to a lot of conversation about this on the radio and read about it on blogs. One aspect of the story doesn’t seem to me to have received its due.

When Live Action called the abortion giant a woman named Samantha answered the phone and when asked about mammograms she did something completely surprising. She told the truth.

“We don’t…um… deal with the health side of it so much…we’re mostly a surgical facility.”

Ah, finally some truth from Planned Parenthood. That is the statement that tells all if you ask me. They don’t deal with health. They are an abortion facility. That’s what they do. We’ve all known it. And Live Action got them to admit it.  the rest  image

PETA Contest Offers Free Vasectomy to [human] Winner

March 30, 2011
Associated Press

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has long advocated for dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered. Now, it's extending the campaign to humans.

The Norfolk, Va.-based group is offering a free vasectomy to the winner of its "Why should PETA neuter you?" campaign. Applicants enter the contest by getting their cat or dog spayed or neutered and submitting an essay to PETA. the rest

PETA Offers to “Neuter” Human Pet Spaying Contest Winner
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Wesley J. Smith

PETA is anti human, and believes our moral worth is no greater than that of animals–or as Ingrid Newkirk once put it, “A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.” Showing its misanthropic tendencies, PETA is now running a contest to see who will be offered a free vasectomy after they neuter their pet...

'Not done weeping yet,' missionary in Japan says

Mar 30, 2011 | by Tess Rivers

"Disaster" says it all.

Southern Baptist missionaries and volunteers finally distributed relief goods in Ishinomaki, Japan, this week after two weeks of attempting to gain access to the quake-stricken areas. Power outages, gas rationing, an escalating nuclear crisis and relocation of International Mission Board personnel hampered earlier attempts.

Ishinomaki -- a small city of around 120,000 people -- was devastated March 11 by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Officials estimate that more than 18,000 people died and thousands more are missing along Japan's northeastern coast.

The 11-member team spent two days distributing relief goods at multiple locations throughout the city, including an apartment complex, a nursing home and a bus station. Everywhere they went, they found grateful Japanese, eager for someone to listen to their stories. the rest

Easter ad rejected by national movie theater chain

posted March 31,2011
Christian Examiner staff report

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — An Orange County church hoping to promote its upcoming Easter services through multi-screen advertising at local theaters had its ads pulled by the company because the content included the name of Jesus.

“We were told we could promote our Easter services with a commercial that featured the date, time and place with some fun bunnies and eggs thrown in,” Pastor Mike Fabarez, senior pastor, of Compass Bible Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. “But for us, Easter isn’t about springtime fun, it’s the most important day in Christian history, and we won’t water that message down. It’s unfortunate that what our country was founded on has now become ‘too controversial.’”

Fabarez said he was told by officials with NCM Media Networks that the ad, which some viewers might find offensive, violated its content policy. Among the prohibited content were topics that included such things as nudity, political messaging and gambling. The pastor said he saw nothing on the list that mentioned religion or Christianity. the rest

Study: Church Giving Begins to Rebound, but Charitable Deduction Issue Looms Large

The 3rd Annual State of the Plate survey from 1,507 churches showed giving increased last year for 43 percent of churches. But 91 percent of church leaders are concerned about proposed government changes to tax deductions for charitable giving.
WASHINGTON, March 30, 2011

Christian Newswire -- It's been a tough time financially for churches the past three years. But just as a glimmer of hope began to surface this past year, the federal government's desire to tinker with the charitable tax deduction has most church leaders concerned.

The 3rd annual "State of the Plate" constituency survey of more than 1,500 congregations showed that 43 percent of churches saw giving increase this past year (up from 36 percent last year).

When asked about the federal government's plan to modify the rules concerning charitable tax deductions, 91 percent of church leaders expressed concern that this would negatively affect giving.  the rest

Do you give at church with tax deductions in mind?

UK: Marriage rate falls to record low

By Jenny Purt, PA
Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Marriage rates in England and Wales are at their lowest since records began, new statistics show.

Just 21.3 out of every 1,000 males aged 16 plus were married in 2009, down from a rate of 22.0 in 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The proportion of women aged 16 plus who were married fell from 19.9 in 2008 to 19.2 in 2009.

The rates were the lowest since calculations of rates began in 1862. the rest

Two Christians killed, churches burned: extremists respond to Florida Koran burning

In Hyderabad and Lahore, a mob of Islamic fundamentalists targeted the Christian places of worship. Desecrated several copies of the Bible. Anti-American slogans and demonstrations in different cities of Pakistan. The extremists pledge more violence, if Washington does not condemn pastor Jones to death. Bishop of Islamabad: the gesture of a "fanatic."
by Jibran Khan

 (AsiaNews) - Two believers killed, churches attacked, copies of the Bible burned: the Christian community in Pakistan is once again the victim of violence by Islamic fundamentalists, who have targeted places of worship in the country. The extremist violence was triggered by the insane act - repeatedly condemned by Christians in Pakistan and India – of the pastor Wayne Sapp, who last March 20, in Florida burned a Koran under the supervision of the evangelical preacher Terry Jones. The escalating violence has raised alarm over the fate of Asia Bibi, a symbol of the abuses committed in the name of the blasphemy law. The bishop of Islamabad / Rawalpindi defines the US pastor a "fanatic" who encourages followers to a "violent ideology", the consequences of which have an impact "on innocent Christians" across the world.

On March 25, a mob of Islamic extremists attacked a Pentecostal church in Hyderabad, killing two Christians and burning some copies of the Bible. Eyewitnesses said that the fundamentalists stormed the place of worship looking to set it on fire, but a group of believers defended the church. Security forces have fled the scene, leaving those present at the mercy of the crowd. The attackers hurled anti-Christian slogans and a feeling of anger toward the religious minority has spread. in the city The pastor of the church reports that "despite the condemnation of the burning of the Koran" the community "has come under attack because they think that we are linked to the Americans."  the rest

14 arrested in Orissa for unlawful conversion

Sins of the Father: Abortion, Birth Control and the ACLU

Share by Paul Kengor, Register correspondent
Friday, Mar 04, 2011

As someone who has the highly unusual task of researching old, declassified Soviet and Communist Party USA archives, I often get quizzical looks as to why certain things from the distant past still matter, beyond mere historical curiosity. In a sense, it all matters. Truth is truth. History is history.

Even then, I often get asked why something I’ve found in communist archives from, say, the 1920s, pertains to America right now in the 21st century. Well, indeed, past is often prologue, as what happened a century ago is hardly irrelevant to today’s political stage.

That certainly seems the case with what I’ve found on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), from its challenging of Christmas carols in public schools seven decades ago to its recent actions trying to compel Catholic hospitals to do abortions and denouncing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops for opposing birth control and contraception in “health care” reform legislation. Few organizations have been as consistently radical in advancing abortion as the ACLU, to such a degree that Alan Sears and Craig Osten, authors of The ACLU vs. America, refer to “the ACLU’s crusade against the unborn child.”

How ironic that I would find the seeds of these things in communist archives or, even more directly, in the pro-communist or pro-Soviet writings of the ACLU’s founders. the rest

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dynamic new pro-life video makes case against abortion using embryology

by Rebecca Millette
March 30, 2011

( – In a brand-new, fast-paced video, the pro-life site makes the “case against abortion” based upon the development of the pre-born child.

“At what point does it become wrong to intentionally destroy a developing human being?” asks the video, going on to point out that while a startlingly high number Americans think abortion should be legal in the first trimester, far fewer agree to it in the third. “Why the discrepancy?”

“Because a 3rd trimester abortion kills a baby, and a 1st trimester abortion kills a bunch of cells,” the video suggests, than asking, “Or does it?” the rest

Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death

By Farid Ahmed and Moni Basu
March 29, 2011
Shariatpur, Bangladesh

(CNN) -- Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl.

Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public.

Hena dropped after 70.  the rest

Calls Confirm Planned Parenthood Misleads on Offering Mammograms

by Steven Ertelt
Washington, DC

Today, Live Action released videotaped footage of calls to 30 Planned Parenthood centers nationwide in 27 different states where abortion facility staff were asked whether or not mammograms could be performed on site. Every one of the Planned Parenthood centers admitted they could not do mammograms. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells the women calling that they will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure.

“We don’t provide those services whatsoever,” admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona while a staffer at Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, Kansas tells a caller, “We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.”

Live Action president Lila Rose says the new recordings further confirm Planned Parenthood’s corruption.

“Planned Parenthood is first and foremost an abortion business, but Planned Parenthood and its allies will say almost anything to try and cover up that fact and preserve its taxpayer funding,” she told “It’s not surprising that an organization found concealing statutory rape and helping child sex traffickers would misrepresent its own services so brazenly, playing on women’s fears in order to protect their tax dollars.”

Full Story

Muslim Jihad in Christian Ethiopia

by Raymond Ibrahim
 Mar 28, 2011

Not only does last week’s jihadist rampage against Ethiopia’s Christians highlight the travails Christians encounter wherever Islam has a sizable population, but it offers several insights, including some which should concern faraway, secular nations with Muslim minorities. According to Fox News:

Thousands of Christians have been forced to flee their homes in Western Ethiopia after Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes. At least one Christian has been killed, many more have been injured and anywhere from 3,000 to 10,000 have been displaced in the attacks that began March 2 after a Christian in the community of Asendabo was accused of desecrating the Koran. the rest

Support for 'gay' rights rising among Catholics

Charlie Butts

A new study shows that Roman Catholics are more supportive of homosexual special rights than are the general public and other Christians.

The survey, conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, addressed such topics as legal recognition, same-gender "marriage," and suicide rates. Dr. Robert Jones, the Institute's CEO, says the study is fairly comprehensive. the rest
"Nearly three-quarters of Catholics favor laws that would protect gay and lesbian people against discrimination in the workplace," says Jones. "Sixty-three percent of Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian people to serve openly in the military -- and six in 10 Catholics favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to adopt children."

Company Uses Cells From Abortions to Test Artificial Flavors

by Steven Ertelt
 Washington, DC

 A pro-life group that monitors the use of cells from babies victimized by abortions is today highlighting a biotech company, Senomyx, which it says produces artificial flavor enhancers using aborted fetal cell lines to test their products.

The group Children of God for Life is calling for a public boycott of major food companies partnering with Senomyx.

Debi Vinnedge, the director of the pro-life organization, tells today that, in 2010, her group wrote to Senomyx CEO Kent Snyder and pointed out that moral options for testing their food additives could and should be used. But when Senomyx ignored her letter, the group wrote to the companies Senomyx listed on their website as “collaborators” warning them of public backlash and threatened boycott. They included food giants PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Campbell Soup, Solae and Nestlé. the rest

“What they don’t tell the public is that they are using HEK 293 – human embryonic kidney cells taken from an electively aborted baby to produce those receptors,” she said. “They could have easily chosen animal, insect, or other morally obtained human cells expressing the G protein for taste receptors.”

Germany: Incarcerated parents' treatment 'appalling'

Bill Bumpas

Some German parents continue to be jailed for protecting their children's Christian beliefs.

Five sets of parents in a German town have been punished for refusing to allow their elementary school-aged children to participate in school sex-education programs (see earlier article). "[The children are] being put through an interactive sex-education play which teaches them that if something feels good, then you should do it," explains Roger Kiska with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).

According to Kiska, one father has just been released from prison, two other parents are currently jailed, and two more mothers are waiting to be jailed.

"One is pregnant, so she's got an exemption until she gives birth; [and] the other just had a baby, so they're allowing her some time to bond with her child before she goes to prison for a longer sentence," he says. "It's absolutely appalling what these parents are going through." the rest

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Priest accused of ‘anti-gay indoctrination’ for teaching Catholic view of homosexuality in class

by Rebecca Millette
Tue Mar 29, 2011

 ( – A Catholic priest has come under fire from homosexual activists for “anti-gay indoctrination” after he taught his students what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality in his high school course on gay “marriage.”

Equality Matters, a media and communications group for homosexual rights, on their website accused the chaplain of Indianapolis’ Cardinal Ritter High School of “spouting a stream of homophobic and offensive falsehoods about same-sex marriage and gay people in general to a classroom full of students.”

Fr. John Hollowell, chaplain and teacher at the private Catholic high school, had posted the videos of the lectures on YouTube and his personal blog last week. the rest

UK: Children as young as four to be educated in atheism

By Daily Mail Reporter
29th March 2011

School pupils aged just four are to be taught atheism in a move schools hope will equip them to be 'citizens of the world'.

Education bosses in Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire, have radically restructured the RE syllabus to accommodate non-religious beliefs.

Youngsters will continue to learn about the six major faiths - Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism - but they will also be taught humanism, the belief that there is no God or Gods, and that moral values are founded on human nature and experience. the rest

Archbishop calls for prayer in response to jihadist attacks in Nigeria

March 29, 2011
by Georg Conger

Tragedy was narrowly averted this week in the city of Jos in Nigeria’s Plateau State, after bomb bombs destined for two packed churches exploded prematurely, killing the would-be assassins.

On March 20 two men riding a motorcycle approached the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) in Jos. A large crowd was gathered outside the church as the morning English language service was ending and worshippers were waiting to enter the building for a Hausa service. A bomb carried by the motorcyclists detonated prematurely, killing the two men. A third motorcyclist was killed by a mob after the explosion, accused of being a scout for the two dead killers.

A second bomb attack at the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Church in Jos on Sunday was foiled after a bomb planted by two men riding a motorcyclist failed to explode. The two would-be bombers escaped and are at large. the rest

Churches bombed and Christians attacked as violence spreads in Nigeria

'Facebook Depression' Affecting Teens, Report Says

Tue, Mar. 29 2011
 By Nathan Black
Christian Post Reporter

Youths who spend a lot of time on social media sites are at risk of "Facebook depression," a group of doctors say.

Though the symptoms and the resulting harmful behavior may be similar to "offline depression," the American Academy of Pediatrics has proposed Facebook depression as a new phenomenon.

The AAP issued a new clinical report, “The Impact of Social Media Use on Children, Adolescents and Families,” published online on Monday, detailing both the negative and positive effects of social media use on youth and families.

The report points out that the number of preadolescents and adolescents using such sites as Facebook and MySpace has increased dramatically during the last five years. the rest  image by Julien Lazelli

Biblical scholars excited by ‘books’ discovered in Jordanian cave

Biblical scholars believe a collection of ancient texts discovered in a Jordanian cave may shed new light on Christianity.
by Amy Shank
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If the finding is found to be authentic, it would be constitute the earliest known Christian writings.

The text is in the form of codices written onto credit-card-sized sheets of lead and bound with lead rings.

The fragments of text that have been translated so far and the images and symbols on the “books” indicate that they are Christian.

Many of the 70 books are sealed, leading to speculation that they contain secret writings. the rest

Jordan battles to regain 'priceless' Christian relics
They could be the earliest Christian writing in existence, surviving almost 2,000 years in a Jordanian cave. They could, just possibly, change our understanding of how Jesus was crucified and resurrected, and how Christianity was born...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Devotional: Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross...

Lord, never was a magnet so powerful to draw to itself the hard steel, as Thou, the Lord, lifted up on the cross, art powerful to draw unto Thee the hearts of men. 0 beloved Lord, draw me through joy and sorrow, from all that is in the world to Thee and to Thy cross; form me, and shape me into Thine image here below, that I may enjoy Thee eternally in the glory whither Thou art gone. ...Henry Suso image by Rennet Stowe

Time-Lapse Auroras Over Norway

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Larger size here-beautiful!

Pro-life march in Spain draws over 150,000 participants

by Rebecca Millette
Mon Mar 28, 2011

 ( – An estimated 150,000-plus pro-lifers gathered to celebrate life and protest a new abortion law in Madrid on Sunday. Hundreds of others marched in over 80 Spanish cities, including Barcelona, Oviedo, Zaragoza and Las Palmas, and internationally on March 25 as part of recognition for the International Day of the Unborn Child.

From little children to teens to grandparents, families walked in the streets in support of a Spanish “manifesto” that calls abortion “a terrible hypocrisy against women” and a “terrible injustice to the children.” Participants were asked to sign the petition demanding that Spanish laws protect life “at all times and circumstances” and seek to offer true aid to women with unplanned pregnancies. the rest

Marriage and Procreation: The Intrinsic Connection

by Patrick Lee, Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley
March 28, 2011

There is an intrinsic link between marriage and procreation, but this does not mean that infertile couples cannot really be married.

Activists seeking to redefine marriage typically claim that it is unfair—even arbitrary—for law and public policy to continue to honor the historic understanding of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife. Believing that marriage has a degree of malleability that our legal tradition has heretofore failed to recognize, they maintain that “excluding” same-sex partners from marriage violates a moral right possessed by every individual to marry a person of one’s choice (with that person’s consent). Defenders of conjugal marriage reply (in part) that marriage is not malleable in the ways that their opponents suppose. It is by nature oriented to procreation, and so defining marriage as a male-female union is not unjust discrimination. On a sound understanding of marriage, they argue, it is no more unfair to “exclude” same-sex partners from marriage than it is to “exclude” three (or more) polyamorous sexual partners from marriage. Indeed, it is not accurately characterized as exclusion at all.

Those who support defining marriage in such a way as to include same-sex partnerships deny that marriage has any intrinsic relation to procreation. When striking down Proposition 8 (which re-established conjugal marriage under California law after it had been invalidated by that state’s supreme court), Judge Vaughn Walker curtly argued: “Never has the state inquired into procreative capacity or intent before issuing a marriage license; indeed, a marriage license is more than a license to have procreative sexual intercourse.” The same argument was advanced earlier by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall in her majority opinion in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the ruling that struck down Massachusetts’ conjugal marriage law; replying to the contention that marriage’s primary purpose is procreation, Marshall confidently replied that:

This is incorrect…. General Laws c. 207 contains no requirement that the applicants for a marriage license attest to their ability or intention to conceive children by coitus. Fertility is not a condition of marriage, nor is it grounds for divorce. People who have never consummated their marriage, and never plan to, may be and stay married.

But this argument—that since infertile couples can marry, marriage is not oriented to procreation—is radically unsound. the rest

Christian in Bangladesh goes to prison for evangelism

by ASSIST News Service
Monday, March 28, 2011
Compass Direct News

(CDN) is reporting that a Christian in Bangladesh has been sentenced to one year in prison for "creating chaos" by selling and distributing Christian books and other literature near a major Muslim gathering north of this capital city.

CDN says that a magistrate court in Gazipur district handed down the sentence to Biplob Marandi, a 25-year-old tribal Christian, on February 28 after he was arrested near the massive Bishwa Ijtema (World Muslim Congregation) on the banks of the Turag River near Tongi town on January 21.

"Duty police found Marandi creating chaos as he was propagating his religion, Christianity, by distributing the tracts as a mobile court on January 21 was patrolling near the field of the Bishwa Ijtema," the verdict reads. the rest

Christian Political Dissident Receives 10-Year Prison Sentence in China

A. S. Haley: The Soft Tyranny of Low Expectations

Friday, March 25, 2011

ECUSA's House of Bishops is gathered for its annual spring meeting at the Kanuga center near Hendersonville, in North Carolina. The spring meetings have in the past been characterized by an atmosphere of retreat and contemplation, with a goal of increasing the ability of the group to work together -- while separated from the turmoil of Church politics (what an oxymoron!). As one participant expresses it:

I remember the first Spring meeting we had there after the melt-down General Convention in Phoenix when Ed Browning decided we needed to meet more regularly as bishops, to work on our common life, and to find venues in which to pray and talk and relate to one another, free from the highly-charged “political” atmosphere of General Convention or even the traditional Fall meetings of the House.

I think these meetings have served us well and one doesn’t [hear] the “d” word –”dysfunctional” — thrown around quite so much any more describing the House of Bishops. These Spring meetings used to have more of a ‘retreat’ atmosphere which I always appreciated. I think some of that has gone by the wayside over the years, but the conference/retreat center setting of Kanuga still lends itself to a different feeling for the meeting.

Given the collegial atmosphere and expectations, therefore, it comes as a bit of a shock to learn that the leadership of ECUSA has arranged a slightly different agenda for the 2011 spring meeting of the House of Bishops. That agenda includes an indoctrination of the attendees into what President Ronald Reagan once memorably called "the soft tyranny of low expectations" (and which George W. Bush changed into "the soft bigotry of low expectations"). the rest

And what better subject for the "teachers" than the newly created metropolitan authority of the Presiding Bishop herself? She begins the process with an exhortation to the assembled bishops to "show up in the various challenging venues of today's world" (how postmodern can we make this?). Having thereby subtly established her authority to issue pastoral directives to her colleagues, she hands the real task of instruction over to those who were the architects of the changes to Title IV of the national Canons -- the members of the (Second) Title IV Task Force. The constitutionality of their changes has been called into serious question, both on this blog and on others deeply concerned with Episcopal Church polity. It is a bit disconcerting, but nevertheless entirely within the character of the current administration, to have the assembled bishops hear only from members of the Title IV Task Force, who continue to maintain -- in the face of all historical and logical evidence -- that they are right and every other canon law expert is just wrong.

UK: Manchester Cathedral to host tarot card readers and healers at 'new age' festival

Yakub Qureshi
March 28, 2011

Manchester Cathedral is to host a ‘new age’ festival featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers and ‘dream interpretation’.

Local Anglican leaders have agreed to throw open the doors of the historic cathedral in a bid to embrace alternative forms of Christianity.

Fortune tellers, meditation experts and traditional healers will fill the pews during the day-long festival in May. The Bishop of Manchester, Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, said he wanted to celebrate ‘all forms of spirituality’. the rest image

Church of England row as cathedral opens doors to tarot card readers and crystal healers in 'new age' festival
...But Bishop Nigel insisted the unconventional activities due to take place in Manchester Cathedral were not incompatible with Christian belief.
He said: 'The event is a chance to discover and explore old and new Christian spiritual traditions from living in a community to praying with icons, from healing to bead-making, from Franciscan spirituality to contemporary music and movement.
'Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs.'...